SETTING SAIL ON THE YANGZI
TO SECRETARY YUAN
Wistful, away from my friends and kin,
Through mist and fog I float and float
With the sail that bears me toward Loyang.
In Yangzhou trees linger bell-notes of evening,
Marking the day and the place of our parting….
When shall we meet again and where?
…Destiny is a boat on the waves,
Borne to and fro, beyond our will.
A POEM TO A TAOIST HERMIT
My office has grown cold today;
And I suddenly think of my mountain friend
Gathering firewood down in the valley
Or boiling white stones for potatoes in his hut….
I wish I might take him a cup of wine
To cheer him through the evening storm;
But in fallen leaves that have heaped the bare slopes,
How should I ever find his footprints!
Out of the east you visit me,
With the rain of Baling still on your clothes,
I ask you what you have come here for;
You say: “To buy an ax for cutting wood in the mountains”
…Hidden deep in a haze of blossom,
Swallow fledglings chirp at ease
As they did when we parted, a year ago….
How grey our temples have grown since them!
MOORING AT TWILIGHT IN YUYI DISTRICT
Furling my sail near the town of Huai,
I find for harbour a little cove
Where a sudden breeze whips up the waves.
The sun is growing dim now and sinks in the dusk.
People are coming home. The bright mountain-peak darkens.
Wildgeese fly down to an island of white weeds.
…At midnight I think of a northern city-gate,
And I hear a bell tolling between me and sleep.
EAST OF THE TOWN
From office confinement all year long,
I have come out of town to be free this morning
Where willows harmonize the wind
And green hills lighten the cares of the world.
I lean by a tree and rest myself
Or wander up and down a stream.
…Mists have wet the fragrant meadows;
A spring dove calls from some hidden place.